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How to Use the Glimmer Foiling System in Your Crafts

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Glimmer System Basics

Manufactured under the Spellbinders brand, the Glimmer Hot Foil system is one of the easiest and most popular paper crafting methods. It involves using hot foil on all sorts of materials to enhance projects.

While you probably will imagine using it mostly on greeting cards, there are other projects you can create using this system:

  • Titles on scrapbook pages
  • Embellishments for scrapbook pages
  • On envelopes for greeting cards and scrapbook pages
  • On leather crafts
  • Junk journals
  • Other mixed media projects

With a die-cutting/embossing machine, the Glimmer Hot Foil system provides one of the best ways to apply foil on the market. Not all die-cutting machines will work with this system. But there is an extensive group of die-cutting machines that are compatible. While other foiling systems may require a specific brand of die-cutting machine, you have more options with the Glimmer system. That makes it unique.

Another feature that makes the Glimmer Foiling system different is that you can use other brands of foiling dies as well as Spellbinders. The only accommodation you might have to make is with the shims (you may have to add some cardstock shims to get the best results).

The Glimmer machine applies the heat and the die-cutting machine applies the pressure to the foil to bond it to the material you are working with.

Machine Parts and Functions

It uses a base docking unit that heats up the platform. The specialty foil plate is heated. The hot foil is placed over the foil plate and the material to be foiled is placed on that.

There are three lights and two buttons on the system. The first light and button is the power on. The power switch is located on the back of the machine. When you turn it on, you will see the first light go on.

Now you need to wait a bit until the second light turns green. That is the platform-ready light. It will take a bit of time for the platform to heat up.

Once the platform is heated, you place your foil dies on the platform, then you press the second button, which is the timer. It will flash, then it is time to set up your sandwich.

The last step rolls your platform and sandwich into the die-cutting machine. It is that simple.

There are shims and plates that are sandwiched on top. The whole platform is then run through a die-cutting/embossing machine that presses the foil onto the project.

The Glimmer Hot Foil system also has power cord storage underneath the machine making it even easier to store.

Machine Size

  • Base/dock: 10 3/8" long (with heating platform in, add about 1 1/2"), about 1 1/2" high without platform in.
  • Heating platform: 10 1/2" long including handle, 6 1/8" wide, about 5/8" high.
  • Heated surface: 5 7/8"wide, 6 1/2" long, 5/8" high.
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Different Versions, Same System

It should be noted that there are two versions of the same system. The different versions are made for the different types of electrical systems where you live. The USA/North America version is meant to be used in the USA and Canada. Likewise, if you live in the UK or the European countries, there is a specific version meant for your type of electricity. The UK/UE version includes both a C-type plug for Europe and a G-type plug for the UK.

If you order the system, make sure that you have the right version for your area.

The parts of the Glimmer Foiling System, complete with everything you need to foil a variety of materials.

The parts of the Glimmer Foiling System, complete with everything you need to foil a variety of materials.

Glimmer Foiling System Accessories

The difference between a cutting die and a foiling die is that the foiling die does not have a sharp cutting edge. The foiling does come in a variety of backgrounds, shapes, nesting dies and sentiment dies. There are about 100 different foiling does with more being added every month.

Other companies like Pink Fresh Studios, Altenew, and Simon Says have also started to carry their own lines of hot foil plates.

  • Simon Says has many of the Spellbinders foiling dies as well as their own line.
  • Pinkfresh Studios has foiling dies that coordinate with many off their other products.
  • Altenew has foil dies in with their cardmaking supplies.

Some companies like Pink Fresh Studio even have foiling sentiment dies that have cutting dies included so you can foil your sentiments and then die cut them.

It is believed that the market for foil dies is ready to expand in the next few years, So your options are a lot wider than they once were.

Foil Roll Station

12 roll storage station that you can put together to store all of your foil rolls.

Silicone Cooling Pad

This is an accessory that also comes with your purchase of the system. You keep it alongside the foiling machine. Once you are done with a foil plate, you use either the tweezers or the pick-up tool to transfer the hot foil die to the cooling pad (never pick up the foil die off the platform with your hands or fingers). It takes about 5 minutes for the die to cool down.

Glimmer Specialty Clear Film Sheets

Heat resistant archival clear film sheets: 10 to a pack to be used with the Glimmer Hot Foil System. It is used for see-through effects on greeting cards and other projects.

Magnetic Pick-Up Tool

The Magnetic Pick-Up Tool is perfect for picking up your hot foil plates or anything else that is made of metal. Simply place the magnetic tip over metal to pick up and press the button to release. Comes with some Glimmer boxes. The tool can be used by both right-handed and left-handed crafters.

Magnetic Tweezers

This is another tool to pick up your hot foil dies. It is a pair of tweezers with a magnetic piece to hold the dies. This one may come in some boxes as a stand-in for the Magnetic Pick Up Tool.

Spellbinders Quick Trimmer

The Glimmer Hot Foil System has everything you need to start foiling right out of the box.

The Glimmer Hot Foil System has everything you need to start foiling right out of the box.

What Is In The Box

The Glimmer Foiling System comes with everything you need to foil as soon as you get it all out of the box. Bundles may vary a little in price and contents, but this is the basic box from Spellbinders.

As we said earlier, there are two versions of the Glimmer Hot Foil System. One is the American version, and the other is the UK/European version.

The US Version

  • Hot Foil Stamp Press Machine
  • Power Cord (6 ft) US version only
  • Heat Resistant Acrylic Spacer Shim
  • Thin Heat Resistant Acrylic Spacer Shim
  • Silicone Cooling Pad
  • Magnetic Pick-up Tool
  • Two Starter Foil Rolls (Rainbow & Gold)
  • Two Starter Hot Foil Plates (Frame & Sentiment)

EUK/ European Version

  • Hot Foil Stamp Press Machine
  • EUK Version 2 Power Cords (6 ft / 1.8288 meters) for EU and UK/220V
  • Heat Resistant Acrylic Spacer Shim
  • Thin Heat Resistant Acrylic Spacer Shim
  • Silicone Cooling Pad
  • Magnetic Pick-up Tool
  • Two Starter Foil Rolls (Silver & Gold
  • Two Starter Hot Foil Plates (Frame & Sentiment)

Glimmer Foil System

The Glimmer Hot Foils are made to work perfectly with the Glimmer Hot Foil System.

The Glimmer Hot Foils are made to work perfectly with the Glimmer Hot Foil System.

Foils to Use With the Glimmer Foiling Machine

Like most manufacturers, Spellbinders has its own line of foils designed to give the best results with its foiling system. The fact that their foils are only sold in rolls makes sense. There is always less waste with rolls than there are with single sheets.

Glimmer Foils

The Glimmer foils come in single rolls and multipack rolls. The single rolls are about 5 inches x 15 feet 12.7 cm x 4.572 meters. There are about 25 colors, but more are being added.

Multipack rolls are a four-pack roll.

There are a large variety of colors in the shiny foils. There are also mini rainbow and regular rainbow foils. There are etched foils as well as prism foils. There are also some holographic foils.

Average price for single foils is $5.99 and multipack foils average $15.99.

More Foils That Can Be Used With The Glimmer System

Other foils can be used with the Glimmer Hot foil machine. The thing to keep in mind is that the foil that you use with this system must be a thermal (hot) foil that is activated with heat. Foils like Couture Creations, Foil Quill foils and Gemini Foilpress foils will all work with your Glimmer System.

Foil Tip For The Glimmer Foil System

  • Minc foil cannot be used in the Glimmer System. Minc foil is reactive foil and will not work in any hot foil system.
The Spellbinders Platinum die cutting machine is one of many that is compatible with the Glimmer foiling system

The Spellbinders Platinum die cutting machine is one of many that is compatible with the Glimmer foiling system

Die Cutting Machines Compatible With the Glimmer System

Not all die cutting systems are compatible with the Glimmer Foiling System. This is something to consider if you are deciding on a foiling system.

The following system are compatible with the Glimmer System:

  • Spellbinders Platinum
  • Platinum 6 Deep Sea Die Cutting and Embossing Machine
  • Sizzix BigShot
  • Sizzix BigKick
  • Sizzix Big Shot Plus
  • Sizzix Big Shot Express
  • Tim Holtz Vagabond
  • We R Memory Keepers Evolution
  • RG Amaze
  • FSJ Platinum, Platinum 6
  • Deep Sea Die Cutting and Embossing Machine
  • FSJ Amaze
  • Craftwell eBosser

Other machines may be compatible with the Glimmer Hot Foil System. The machine must have at least a 6"/15.24 cm wide platform and cut steel rule dies in order to work with Glimmer. Note: the Cuttlebug is not compatible with the Glimmer.

You can use holographic foils on your projects!

You can use holographic foils on your projects!

Materials You Can Foil

MaterialThin ShimSpacer PadCutting Plate





















Watercolor Paper




The Glimmer Foiling Stamping Sandwich

  • Bottom layer: heated platform
  • Second layer: hot foil plate, with the design side facing upwards
  • Third layer: foil, with the shiny side facing down (touching the hot foil plate) and dull side facing up
  • Fourth layer: cardstock
  • Top layer: shim/shims (as recommended in your instruction manual)

Tip: Depending on the material, other shims may be necessary.

How To Use The Glimmer Foiling System

The system is easy to use. Here are the steps to get the best results for your Glimmer System:

Set your machine up following the manufacturer's direction:

  • Plug the power cord into the machine
  • Place the platform onto the docking station

Steps to Use the Glimmer System

  1. Plug in the machine and turn it on with the on button.
  2. Wait for the machine to warm up. The platform ready light will turn green.
  3. Place the Glimmer plate (die) on the heated surface which is the rubber part of the platform face up.
  4. Press the timer button and wait for the indicator to turn green.
  5. Place the foil (shiny side down) on the hot foil plate.
  6. Add the desired material that you want to foil on top of the foil.
  7. Add the shims and spacer plates as needed.
  8. Using the handle, remove the platform from the docking system with the sandwich on top.
  9. Slowly roll it through your die-cutting machine back and forth.
  10. Remove the shims.
  11. Place the platform back on the docking system.
  12. Carefully and slowly remove the foil from the material.
  13. Enjoy the results!

Foil Tips

  • If you do not get enough foil coverage on your project, add some cardstock or other types of shims to increase the pressure.
  • When possible, you can use small pieces of washi (removable) tape to pull the edges of a foil sheet “taut” against the paper; this helps keep the foil flat against the surface and can greatly reduce over-foiling.

More Glimmer Foiling Tips

  • The smoother the cardstock the better. 80-110 lb cardstock gives the best foiling results.
  • Make sure that the foil is placed correctly. The matte side should be facing you; the shiny side should be facing the foil die.
  • Cut the corners of your foil piece to prevent them from curling when it heats up.
  • Use a slow motion when you are running your platform and sandwich through your die-cutting machine both back and forth to get the most even foil coverage.
  • Lay your Glimmer foil plate on top of a piece of foil. Use a marker to generously trace the shape of the foil die. Cut the outline out. This will help prevent any foiling where you do not want it.
  • The smoother the material, the better the results when foiling.
  • Make sure to cut your foil just to cover the size of the foil plate. That will help prevent getting foil where you do not want it.
  • With the Glimmer System, it is more important to trim any excess material, as the unit is more prone to over-foiling. You can erase any unwanted foil with a rubber eraser or a mono sand eraser.

Glimmer Foiling Project Ideas

More tips and tricks with the Glimmer Hot Foil System

More tips and tricks with the Glimmer Hot Foil System

How To Letter Press With The Glimmer System

A second feature of the Glimmer Foiling System that makes it different from other systems is the ability to letterpress. With the letterpress system, you get a lovey raised image on your paper. But unlike embossing or debossing, the back of the paper is flat. So, the only area that is raised is the front of the paper.

Combined with foiling, you can create custom projects that show your style and creativity. When you are combining Foiling and letter pressing, you want to foil first and then letterpress.

Paper matters in this technique. You want to use a good cold press watercolor paper for the best results. There are specifically designed paper just for letter press. Hero Arts is one company that makes this available.

Here are the steps to create your letterpress projects:

  1. Build your sandwich from the bottom up
  2. Do not heat up the platform
  3. Ink the glimmer plate (or use it without ink)
  4. Place the Glimmer plate on the platform
  5. Add The cardstock or other materials and the necessary shims
  6. Remove the platform and sandwich from the docking platform
  7. Run the platform through the die cutting machine back and forth

Using Wafer Thin Dies With The Glimmer Foiling System

Another nice feature of the Glimmer Foiling System is that you can use some of the wafer-thin dies you already may have. You can use many metal wafer-thin dies (0.8mm thick) with the Glimmer Hot Foil System. Not all wafer thin dies will work. Try different ones and keep notes on the ones that worked best.

Always build your sandwich from the bottom up!

  1. Turn on the machine and wait for it to heat up
  2. Place the etched wafer-thin die on the platform
  3. Press the timer button and wait for it to turn solid green
  4. Place the glimmer foil (shiny side down) on the etched die
  5. Add the cardstock or other material on top
  6. Add the necessary shims
  7. Remove the sandwich carefully with the handle
  8. Run it through the die cut machine back and forth

Tips For Using Etched Dies

  • You need to add one or two cardstock shims
  • Not all etched dies will give the best results

Glimmer Clubs And Rewards

There are several options that you can chose to receive and participate where you receive specific Glimmer products monthly.

Glimmer Hot Foil Kit Of The Month

In this club, you receive specially designed foil plates as well as Glimmer foils every month. You also get idea sheets for each of the products. Members also get store deals, gifts and more. Priced at $22.50 per month


Like many other sites, Spellbinders has a rewards program that gives you points for actions that can be then used on purchases.


Even More Glimmer Foiling Tips

Here are a few more tips to help you get the most from your Glimmer Foil System:

  1. Foil Reminder-Use the correct side of the foil. The foil m\has to be with the matte side facing you. If you place the foil with the wrong side up, you will foil the foil die instead of the material you had intended. Foiling the plate does not necessarily damage the die or affect the foil results. You have the option to clean it with any product like Un-Du or any other sticker remover. But you must be careful not to scratch or scrape the die surface or it will be ruined.
  2. Do not foil after heat embossing. The heat from the Glimmer Foil System will remelt and activate the embossing powder. Plus, the embossing powder might transfer onto the surface of your Glimmer System. If you must combine heat embossing with hot foiling, you need to do the hot foiling stamping first and then the heat embossing.
  3. Trim your foil to just cover the Glimmer die. Extra foil can cause over foiling.
  4. Tape your plates and your foil onto the cardstock. This is very similar to taping your cutting dies onto paper when you are using a coordinating die over a stamped image. You want to make sure that your foil die does not shift. Tape the die to the paper and you will get better results.
  5. Do not tape over anything that has been foiled. Any low tack or other tape will stick to the foil and lift some of the foil up.
  6. Undock your heat platform before you apply any paper, foil or shims. Gently pull it from the docking station. That way you have a less chance of anything shifting as you transfer the platform to the die cutting machine
  7. Add more shims. Some more detailed foil die may require extra shims. Usually, you can just add one or two pieces of paper to create the perfect foil transfer.

Final Thoughts On The Glimmer Hot Foil System

While the Glimmer Foil System is an investment, you can open up a new world in all of your papercraft projects. Of course, you can create greeting card elements. But many of your foil dies and cutting dies can also be used to create scrapbook page embellishments, junk journal pages and other craft projects.

If you have one of the compatible die-cutting machines with the Glimmer Hot Foil System and are considering a foiling system, this is a nice option for you. You already have half of the products that you need to get started in foiling.

If you are just starting out in paper crafting and do not have a die-cutting machine, then you will have a lot more to consider. At the beginning point, I would recommend that you decide on a die-cutting machine first. Get used to and learn all you can about the die-cutting machine before you get started trying to foil.

The system will help you create an endless supply of sentiments, decor and letterpress pieces.

No matter what you choose to do, you will find foiling is a lot of fun and a very rewarding option. Just imagine the possibilities! Happy crafting!

More Spellbinder/Glimmer Resources

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Linda F Correa